Dead Man’s Pond
Stepping in to ensure our conservation partners have the time they need to raise funding for permanent conservation.
Suburban development threatens critical natural habitat in Pierce County. Sometimes it takes creative partners and creative investing to protect the places that matter the most.
Thanks to support from the Russell Family Foundation, Forterra and the City of Puyallup were able to acquire five acres of urban wildlife habitat in Puyallup, known locally as Dead Man’s Pond. The pond is home to the state endangered Western pond turtle and provides important habitat for other wildlife.
This land, adjacent to an additional 8.7 acres of forested wetlands that Forterra and the City of Puyallup partnered to conserve in 2012, increases public access to natural areas. “Protecting Dead Man’s Pond allows the City to provide high-quality open space within city limits to its residents,” said Puyallup Mayor John Knutsen. The property was protected using a grant from the Pierce County Conservation Futures program.
Dead Man’s Pond is connected to over 200 acres of protected parks and open space in the Clarks Creek corridor, including more than 50 acres already owned by the City. In addition to the Western pond turtle habitat, Dead Man’s Pond is home to Black-tailed deer, Blue heron, and Bald eagles. The pond is the headwaters of Clarks Creek, a small, spring-fed tributary to the Puyallup River that is an important salmon-bearing river.
In late 2013, the City of Puyallup approached Forterra requesting assistance to protect the five-acre property. With few funding options available to it at the time, the City requested Forterra to purchase the property, and maintain it for up to three years until the City can pull together sufficient resources to purchase the property from Forterra.
The Russell Family Foundation provided a financial guarantee which Forterra utilized to secure a line of credit to acquire the property. The City will manage the property during Forterra’s ownership and will work with Forterra to apply for grant funds over the next several months that will allow the City to purchase the property from Forterra and thus permanently protecting Dead Man’s Pond and its critical wildlife habitat.
“We were very happy to work with Forterra to help conserve Dead Man’s Pond,” said Richard Woo, Executive Director for the Russell Family Foundation. “Protecting these precious habitat areas is vital to wildlife, people, and sustainable communities. These values are core to our mission as a foundation.”